Underneath It All (Storm #2) by Cassandra Carr
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 20, 2013
Amazon ♥ B & Nobel
Professional hockey player Rob D'Amico is confused when he's chosen to take part in a reading program for inner-city students. While athletes are role models, he tends toward the gregarious and playful side, rather than a studious bent.
Despite the lack of funding plaguing her inner-city district, every day kindergarten teacher Alaina Rossa ensures her students learn something to prepare them for life. At first she's unsure how a hockey player will help her achieve that goal.
When Rob visits Alaina's class for the first time, they welcome him with open arms, despite the lack of even the basic supplies for their education. He takes it upon himself to get the students what they need, sweeping Alaina up in the excitement.
As time goes by and she learns more about Rob, Alaina finds her heart opening to him. Is it possible her soul mate could be found in a world so different from her own? And for Rob, the last person he thought he'd find forever love with was an elementary school teacher wearing clothes permanently stained with finger paint. But when you're playing for keeps, sometimes you have to get a little dirty.
Sebastian met them at the door. “I’m so happy you could make it, Alaina.” He stuck out his hand and Alaina shook it. “Come in. Sarah’s doing some long word to the salad dressing.”
“Dork,” Rob gave his friend his standard greeting.
Sebastian didn’t even react, but Alaina whacked Rob on the stomach then raised one eyebrow.
He smirked. Yeah, abs of steel, baby.
“Be nice,” Alaina reprimanded. “English isn’t his first language, right?”
“Yeah, Rob, be nice,” Sebastian echoed, his gaze darting between him and Alaina.
The kid was many things, but stupid wasn’t one of them, and no way could Rob hide his interest in Alaina. Then again, why should he?
“I wasn’t even making fun of his language skills,” he said, shaking his head in mock sadness. “It’s how I always say hi when I see him.”
“That’s even worse,” Alaina said.
“Yeah,” Sebastian retorted.
“Kids,” he muttered.
“Who’s talking about kids?” Sarah asked, breezing into the room and wiping her hands on a dish towel. Turning to Alaina, she said, “A pleasure to meet you. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, I’m Sarah.” Then she regarded Sebastian. “Did you tell them to sit down? Offer a drink? I know you weren’t raised in a barn—I’ve seen your parents’ house.”
Sebastian gave her an unrepentant smile, and she patted the side of his face. Rob tried to control his envy. Normally it didn’t bother him to see his friends being all lovey-dovey, except when they went too far with the cuteness. But as he watched the pair, he realized how badly he wanted that for himself. He’d been so close with Christa all those years ago and had played the field since then, not wanting to go through the agony of another breakup. It still freaking hurt every time he let himself think about it. But he wanted to settle down. The realization hit him like a puck aimed at his head, leaving him disoriented.
Shaking his head, Rob pulled Alaina down on the couch with him and put his arm around her, which earned him patronizing looks from his friends. Yep, the gig was up. Oh well. As they conversed, he played with Alaina’s hair, lost inside his head, thinking about his recent revelation until she elbowed him.
“Sarah asked you a question.”
“I’m sorry, what was that?” He looked up at the woman standing in front of him, tapping her foot, a smirk firmly in place on her face.
Cassandra Carr is an Amazon-bestselling and award-winning erotic romance writer who lives in Western New York with her husband, Inspiration, and her daughter, Too Cute for Words. When not writing she enjoys watching hockey and reading an astounding number of books her husband has no idea she's snuck onto her Kindle. Cassandra's books were nominated by The Romance Studio and The Romance Reviews for their "Best of 2012" awards.